Sunday, March 2, 2008

Iditarod Update

We had the privilege of watching the start of the 36th Iditarod live online . The feed is all glitchy now, too many armchair mushers I guess, and the server croaked.

The Very Cool Iditarod Tracking Page works beautifully though. Track Your Team Live, is also free. It is a satellite technology using gps transmitters . It features just 19 of the teams, and is experimental and somewhat controversial in nature. To watch the live video feed, (which isn't even working right now...) and view lots of other 'insider' videos, you have to sign on as an Iditarod Insider (just $20 - so worth it...?..)

The live feed we did get to see of the re-start out of Willow, was awesome. There were so many leaping, barking and generally excited dogs, some ugly, some beautiful, with all tails wagging for the most part. Some dogs needed no handler, some needed two! Watching the teams of 16 dogs, as the 8-10 handlers that are holding them back, with 4-6 strong men just holding the sled, finally give them the go ahead and they tear down the chute, is amazing! Many lead dogs are gunning it and looking straight down the trail, some dogs are listing sideways or taking it at a trot. Some of the team members are even looking backwards, or at the crowd, as if they've forgotten something or see someone they know! As a lot, there were some very bright dogs, and some not so smart ones, with strength and athleticism their common bond. The mushers all gave the teams a scratch and a rub here, and a check or repositioning there, before finally getting on the sled and taking off. There was obvious affection between them. They send the teams out every two minutes for more than 3 hours. There were 96 entered and already one team has scratched after only running the 11 mile ceremonial start yesterday. Gb Jones let the short ceremonial start, also serve as his finish. He is veteran musher, and illness has forced him to not only cancel his attempt this year, but he is retiring for good; "There is life after the Iditarod."

More Later. Photo is from the trackyourteamBlog

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